Is your blog looking a bit run down? Maybe it isn’t functioning as well as you’d like? Your blog represents your company’s headquarters online, so if it is not performing up to your expectations, it is time to upgrade it with some simple plugins.
Any of the following tools will help spruce up your site and simplify your marketing activities:
Click to Tweet
Obviously, you want your customers to share your blog content – that’s a big part of the reason you have a blog in the first place, right? With the Click to Tweet plugin, you can add simple boxes to your site that will allow readers to share your Twitter-ready content to their profiles. When executed well, this free tool can do a lot to build your brand and extend your reach online.
Email marketing is still king when it comes to connecting with customers, which makes building your list one of the best things you can do to improve your digital marketing efforts and your business’s bottom line. With the Scroll Box plugin, your customers will be prompted to enter their email address after they’ve finished one of your posts – that is, once they’ve proven that they’re interested in what you have to say and likely want to know more. This tool will help you grow your list without being too pushy.
OptinMonster is another highly effective tool for gathering the email addresses needed to build your marketing list. Using this plugin, you can create everything from pop-up boxes for viewers who about to exit the page to floating side bars to and more. And because the plugin’s invitations are page-targeted, you can segment your marketing list easily, making it easier to follow-up with personalized content in the future. OptinMonster is a paid plugin, but it’s well worth considering as you grow your business online.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
Many bloggers receive a big chunk of their traffic from searches, especially from the organic Google Search listings. The WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin will help you to optimize your content for this need, causing it to perform better in the search results and drive more traffic to your site. In addition, pay particular attention to the plugin’s page analysis, as this feature will allow you to improve your content from a reader’s perspective as well.
The types of links you have on your site – and whether or not those links actually work – plays a big role in how your site will be viewed by both the search engines and your readers. For example, a post that links out to spammy sites or that includes broken links will irritate your customers, and may even lead to a Google penalty. To avoid these scenarios, check out the LinkPatrol plugin, which helps monitor your links and lets you know if the destination site has been deleted (or has changed in quality).
Like the OptinMonster plugin, Link Patrol is a paid WordPress tool. But given the important role organic search traffic plays in many websites’ success, it’s a tool that all businesses should consider.
Editor note: LinkPatrol was created by SEJ, but we didn’t ask Sujan to include it in his post.
Forms are a fantastic way to share content and collect email addresses and other marketing information in return. In the past, you needed to know how to code to build them into your blog – but not anymore. Gravity Forms gives you a user-friendly way to build professional looking forms that match the styling of your site. And with rates starting at just $39/year, it’s an affordable way to take full advantage of the marketing boost that web page forms can give you.
W3 Total Cache
Very little frustrates readers more than a site that won’t load or that’s slow and buggy. In fact, according to Nielsen Norman Group, nearly 40% of visitors will leave a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. The W3 Total Cache plugin improves the performance of your entire website by creating cache versions of your site that can be loaded more quickly by your viewers. It won’t solve all your website speed problems, but it can make a major difference in the user experience on your site.
With increasing numbers of readers using mobile devices to access websites, you must be sure your website accommodates these on-the-go visitors. But, you don’t need to spend a fortune to have a developer custom code a new responsive version of your WordPress blog. The WPtouch plugin will allow your site’s content to be viewed easily on any smart phone or tablet – whether Apple, Android, Blackberry, or any other manufacturer. With mobile becoming the viewing platform of choice for many internet browsers, you can’t afford to skip this important – and free – plugin.
YARPP stand for “Yet Another Related Post Plugin,” and it’s a great tool that helps viewers find related content on your site that will keep them engaged with your brand. Once installed, the plugin creates a new section at the bottom of your blog posts and automatically suggests a list of other blog posts on similar topics, building relationships and keeping readers on your blog longer.
As an added bonus, you can use the plugin to refresh your memory on previous content you’ve created. If you come across a piece that’s performed well in the past, consider promoting it again or transforming it into a new format for your audience to enjoy.
Marketing Optimizer bills itself as “Easily the most complete A/B testing and conversion rate optimization software for WordPress” – and with good reason! This powerful tool allows you to test and track your existing WordPress pages, in addition to creating landing pages from proven templates that can then be tested against your current content. This comprehensive plugin allows you to manage all of your split test variations from one place and easily make changes based on the results. With this tool, there’s simply no reason not to take advantage of the power of testing.
Out of all the social toolbar plugins out there for WordPress, Flare is one of my favorites. With visible, yet unobtrusive sharing buttons, your readers will be encouraged to click and share your content. At the same time, you’ll receive analytics data on how many shares each piece has received and on which network those shares occurred. Use this data to improve your social media marketing efforts by determining what types of content your audience prefers and which networks they’re most active on.
Last, but certainly not least, the Comments Evolved plugin helps you to organize your comments section, while encouraging your readers to share their thoughts on your posts. What makes this plugin great is it allows readers to use their existing social profiles to comment, rather than requiring the creation of new logins. Since the barrier to sharing is reduced, you’ll see a much stronger social impact on your blog due to readers’ comfort expressing their feelings in your comments section.
Certainly, having a business blog is important, but if it isn’t operating at peak performance, you’re missing out on some powerful digital marketing opportunities. By adding these 12 plugins to your blog, you will be better equipped to offer a professional experience that increases overall engagement and builds the audience you need to grow your business.
What other WordPress plugins deserve a spot on this list? Share your recommendations in the comments below!
Featured Image: Startup Stock Photos
Flare Image: Filament Website
All screenshots taken from plugin pages in January 2015
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